Heartland.org, the US organisation that campaigns to deny climate change, is facing a tough time after major corporate sponsors withdrew their funding and a conference they have ‘organised has ended up as a fisaco – and this alongside a ill judged campaign against those who warn of global warming using an image of Ted Kaczynski, the ‘UnaBomber’. Bonkers. More here http://www.treehugger.com/environmental-policy/heartland-saga-continues-donors-flee-gleick-cleared.html and here http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/may/20/heartland-institute-future-staff-cash
An interesting article by Ben McIntyre in the Times (22nd May) looks at the possibility of using Britain’s colonial history and remaining overseas territories including waters around the Falkland Islands, Acension Island and Pitcairn Island as marine national parks – waters protected from industrial fishing which is currently decimating fish stocks. – the ‘appalling pillage of the sea’. The oceans are effectively being mined by the world’s major nations and just 1% of the sea is protected from fishing in one way or another – tuna stocks are down 95% compared to 50 years ago, 99% of skate has gone and 75% of large sea creatures such as whales, dolphins and sharks. But marine reserves work – the Chagos archipelago in the India Ocean is now protected -0 and where marine reserves have been in place for a number of years fish socks have not only recovered but ‘larval drift’ means fish stocks can be regenerated and sustain fisheries beyond their boundaries. So lets work to establish as may marine reserves as possible – as soon as possible!
Grammy winning musician Femi Kuti has again highlighted the appalling legacy Shell has left at Ogoniland in the Niger Delta where oil spills have destroyed a beautiful wetland and polluted water and land alike. Amnesty International is running a petition to get members of the public to sign up to persuade Shell to take responsibility for its actions and clean up. More at http://amnesty.org/en/50/campaigns/corporate-accountability
More on bees – new research from UC San Diego shows the awful effect pesticides have in bees – again showing that whilst pesticides might not kill bees outright, they reduce the ability of bees to ‘dance’ – the waggling worker bees use to show other bees where nectar and polle supplies are good – so effectively cutting of food supplies. The researchers focused their study on a particular nonicotinoid called imidacloprid. James Nieh, a professor of biology at UC San Diego, said: “In 2006, it was the sixth most commonly used pesticide in California and is sold for agricultural and home garden use. It is known to affect bee learning and memory.” Nieh, along with graduate student Daren Eiri, the first author of the study, treated bees with a small single does of the pesticide, similar to what they would receive in nectar. They discovered that they became “picky eaters”, preferring to only feed on sweeter nectar and refusing nectars of lower sweetness that they would usually feed on. “In addition, bees typically recruit their nestmates to good food with waggle dances, and we discovered that the treated bees also danced less.” More in this at http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2012-05/24/bees-pesticides
A new survey of Europe’s wild bird population says that EU farm policies have lead to a ‘devastating decline’ in numbers – with 297 million birds lost since 1980: lapwing numbers are down 52%, yellow wagtails, starlings and tree sparrows all down 53% and grey partridges down 82% across Europe, and 91% in Britain. Farm policies designed to promote food production include ripping out hedgerows, draining wetlands and ploughing up meadows rob the birds of food and habitats: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/may/26/eu-farming-policies-bird-population
Nike have persuaded some of the world’s biggest sports stars are raising awareness of how plastic bottles can be transformed into athletic performance clothing. Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez and basketball star LeBron James feature in a message about recycled football kits as part of Nike’s ‘My Time is Now’ film. The film shows Hernandez dispatching a water bottle into a bin, which then begins its journey of transformation into a national team kit jersey.
A new carbon reduction forum for the pub and hospitality sector has been launched to help businesses beat energy, water and waste price increases and maintain profitability. Set up by carbon management company Carbon Statement, the Hospitality Sector Carbon Reduction Forum aims to share best practice to cut consumption and boost income.
UK Businesses have largely welcomed government plans to cut the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) rates from August 1 – rather than July 1 as previously proposed. From August 1, the new tariff for small domestic solar installation will be 16p KWH, down from 21p.
Nottingham University Business School’s Simon Wright has warned that two thirds of the world’s population will be living with water stress by 2025 during a recent sustainability webinar. Delegates were also told that food security is posing a major potential challenge to the UK supply chain wit Wright saying “Water is going to be an enormous issue going forward” responding to a delegate request to name the next big climate change threat.
Edie.net reports on a pioneering project to study to carbon cycle over the Amazonian rainforest has been launched by the University of Leicester in partnership with research institutions from the State of Sao Paulo, Brazil. As part of the initiative, a new UK/Brazil institutional research network has been set up with funding from the UK environmental science research funding body the Natural Environment Research Council and the Sao Paulo Research Foundation. the main goal of the research is to evaluate the feasibility of remote sensing greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations over the Amazon, which is anticipated to improve understanding of the Amazonian carbon cycle and tropical carbon movements within the system. Computing giant Intel has joined forces with University College London and Imperial College to launch a new global centre for research to address the environmental, economic and social challenges of city life exploring how technology can support and sustain the social and economic development of cities worldwide.
UK Waste firms have called for increases in landfill tax to be suspended for six months to enable a proper consultation to take place. In a letter addressed to environment secretary Caroline Spelman and communities secretary Eric Pickles, a coalition of skip hire and waste transfer station operators have vented their frustrations over an announcement from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to introduce higher taxation for disposal of certain materials. The letter follows a protest by skip hire trucks on Parliament, which brought traffic to a standstill for several hours. It calls for the Government to take urgent measures to prevent what one operator slams as a “disgraceful” situation with “horrendous” implications for the industry. So implications for the industry – not the planet. Great eh?
WRAP has called for an urgent upgrade of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) infrastructure to enable the recovery of valuable raw materials that are being lost in the recycling process.
The UK Government will face a fresh hearing in the Court of Appeal over claims it has failed to bring illegal air pollution under control. The case against Defra was brought to the High Court by activist law group ClientEarth in December last year, after European Union air pollution limits were breached in 17 regions and cities in the UK, including London, Manchester, Birmingham and lasgow. However, the case failed with the High Court ruling it was a matter for the European Commission. However, the Court of Appeal has now agreed that the case should be re-examined.